Lenovo LOQ15: Affordable but not cheap

Just a few months ago Lenovo announced updates for its high-end Legion gaming PCs. But now the company is set to re-introduce some new budget-friendly fare as part of its new “value-oriented” LOQ line. While they’re not as powerful as their more expensive siblings, after checking them out, I like how these new devices don’t feel cheap despite their low price.

Initially, the LOQ family (pronounced “lock”) will consist of a 15- or 16-inch laptop and a 17L desktop PC. The LOQ 15 and 15i are the least expensive of the bunch, starting at $900 for an AMD Ryzen 7 7840HS or Intel Core i7-13700 chip, while the LOQ 16 and 16i (“i” stands for Intel-based architecture) go a bit higher at $960 and $1,150, respectively. Finally, for people who don’t need to move their gaming rig, the LOQ Tower is priced at a reasonable $980.

Photo by Sam Rutherford / Engadget

But more importantly, Lenovo doesn’t feel like it’s cutting too many corners with its new machines as it tries to keep costs down. Not only do they have similar styling to the Legion lineup, but they also have solid specs with the laptops offering support for up to NVIDIA RTX 4060 GPUs. Like the premium Legion line, you get rear IO to keep the wires from getting too cluttered.

The main differences between Lenovo’s LOQ and Legion gaming notebooks are that instead of an aluminum chassis, the LOQ line has a plastic body, a white or four-zone RGB backlit keyboard (instead of every key). Newer machines also carry slightly smaller batteries (60 or 80Whr depending on the model). While the LOQ line doesn’t support the super-fast 240Hz refresh rates, 165Hz displays with variable refresh rate support (both G-Sync and FreeSync) can go up to 2,560 x 1,600, as well as 350 nits of brightness. All told, that’s not too bad when you consider that Lenovo’s cheapest Legion Pro laptop currently starts at just over $1,600.

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To help keep clutter to a minimum, the LOQ 15 and 16 rely primarily on rear IO with only a couple of ports on the side for easy access.

Photo by Sam Rutherford / Engadget

Now, personally, the smaller LOQ 15 turned out to be a bit chunky, and I swear it’s heavier than Lenovo’s listed weight of 5.3-pounds, while the LOQ 16 is even heavier at 5.7 pounds. However, even with Lenovo’s budget gaming laptops, I appreciate that the company includes a full HD webcam and an electronic shutter switch to disable it.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for something a little more powerful that’s more portable, today Lenovo announced two additions to the Legion family in the Slim 7/7i and Slim 5/5i.

At just 0.78 inches thick and weighing 4.4 pounds, the Legion Slim 7 and 7i are the smallest of the two. It features Intel Core i9-13900H or Ryzen 9 79040HS chips, graphics up to NVIDIA RTX 4070, and a 3.2K 165Hz display or up to a 2,560 x 1,600 240Hz screen. You can optionally get a prominent RGB lighting and a large 99.9 WHr battery with an aluminum frame in Storm Gray or Glacier White. So while I like the price of the new LOQ line, the Legion 7 Slim laptops make me think long and hard about spending a few extra bucks for the sleek design.

Although similar in design to the more affordable LOQ series, the Legion Slim 5 and Slim offer slightly more powerful specs in a more premium aluminum chassis.

Photo by Sam Rutherford / Engadget

Meanwhile, the Legion 5 Slim models have even more solid specs, including the same CPUs and a slightly wider range of graphics options (from RTX 4050 to RTX 4070 depending on the specific build). Unlike the 7 Slim, which is only available as a 16-inch model, the 5 Slim comes in 14-inch and 16-inch sizes.

The new LOQ 15i will go on sale first in April, followed by the LOQ 15 and the larger LOQ 16i in May. AMD based LOQ 16 will arrive in June. Meanwhile, the Legion Slim 5i and 7i are expected to go on sale in April for $1,350 and $1,770, with the Slim 5 and Slim 7 starting later in May at $1,200 and $1,770 respectively.

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